This is the history of what is deemed today as "Freestyle Hip Hop Dance", as lived by me (Buddha Stretch).
Freestlyle Hip Hop Dance came to its inception around late 1984. As the over exposure of FUNKstylin and B-BOYIN, (commonly referred to as BREAKdance) reached it's apex with the release of films like "BREAKIN, BREAKIN2/ELECTRIC BOOGALOO, and BEATSTREET", as well as several commercials, and videos, by the end of that year the integrity of the culture had begun to fade.
However, The ROXY roller rink brought hope as the place to be during this time period of bboyin & funkstylin, in NYC. This is where I went and met most of the dancers that i know today. At that time there were many other "street" dances like the Prep and the Fila (in Bklyn aka the Rambo, cuz heads used to yell "GO RAMBO" when they did it) and many more.
In the spring of 85', the ROXY closed and the staff moved 2 a club called INFERNO, on 31st Street and 6th Avenue. That year the Original club LATIN QUARTERS, started playin Hip Hop on Friday's and Freestyle (latin electronica) on Saturdays. Club Inferno played Hip Hop on Friday also but closed down soon after. It was in 85' that I noticed heads were not B-BOYIN or Poppin anymore except on Saturday's at Latin Quarters. Only the aforementioned dances were rockin on Friday’s. This went on into 1986...
I started going to the ROOFTOP, a roller rink in Harlem. It was there that i saw my first glimpses of CREWS forming that would at one time be strictly B-Boyin or Poppin. During this time more dancers started to incorporate regular street dances like the James Brown.
Later that year, a club called UNION SQUARE opened on 14th Street and It was at this club that what we know today as Freestyle Hip Hop came together. My boy Tron put together a show with some B-Boys and Poppers to perform one night. On that night some of the dancers became intimidated by the ROWDY and THUGGISH crowd at the club. And in turn decided not to do it. So Tron called my boys PETER PAUL and DANILO to the stage and they ROCKED! The next day Tron called me (wondering why i didn't come) and told me what went down. The performance was such a success that they wanted "Us" (notice how I thru myself in) to perform every week. Nevertheless, we opened up the show every week from September 1986 thru January 1987 for the likes of BDP, HEAVY D, Salt N Pepa, JAZZY JEFF and WILL SMITH.
I was deemed the choreographer with the help of MICHELE ANN TRAVIS (R.I.P) who did the promotion for the club, our crew, and first DJ's RED ALERT (then CLARK KENT). These were the beginnings of Freestyle Hip Hop Dance where I incorporated ALL the dances that I knew or just learned into our routines.
From there I went on to dance for the LEGENDARY group WHODINI in the summer of 1987. Later that year more dancers joined Rap acts like Scoob and Scrap with Big Daddy KANE and my boy Trini with SALT & PEPA.
Nowhere in this post do i take credit for the invention of anything. Just the honor of making this dance style popular and being it’s first choreographer. As far as MOPTOP and Elite Force; we formed together officially as MOPTOP in 1991 and Elite Force didn't come together officially as a crew until 1992. The Original MOPTOP crew were LINK, Caleaf, Ejoe, and myself Stretch. The extended family were Peter Paul, Rameer, Tone, Casper, Ade, and Loose Joint. Marquest, Rubberband (not the same as Wigs' referring to), Peekaboo, Kito, and Prancer, were in a group called the Mystidious Misfits.
Elite Force was "coined" as a group on the set of Michael Jackson's Video "REMEMBER THE TIME". Link was not in the front line of the video. So he practiced the routine harder so he could make up into the "Elite" status. Thus the name, because we wanted to be a "Force» not to be reckoned with.
The dancers of Elite Force came together seemlessly because we danced together and had the same interests and backrounds. We have an undeniable "Force" of talent, chemistry, and professionalism in our crew which has become the key ingredients in our path to success.